When we talk about Starry Starry Night in this article, we’re referring to a brand-new mountain retreat situated just off the renowned Route 62 between Barrydale and Montagu, about a 2½-hour drive from Cape Town. The brainchild of a fun-loving couple named François and JD, Starry Starry Night provides a place to just get away from it all and reconnect with nature. We recently paid this little piece of mountain paradise a visit and here are just 8 things that will keep us returning again and again.
1. The feeling of home
For our weekend escape we stayed in the property’s Luna Cottage, just one of two semi-detached open-style studio cottages. Although small, the cottage provided everything we needed to make us feel at home, including a fully equipped kitchen, and a large outdoor deck with braai area. But it was the swing overlooking the fynbos and the daily visits from the adorable farm dogs that really made us feel at home. Travelling as a bigger group? The property also offers the two-bedroom Nova Stardome which also has the unique feature of a geodesic StarDome bedroom with a large bay window and overhead skylight for watching the stars.
2. The small touches
Inside our cottage, it was the small touches that really made this property special. You could instantly see the property owner’s hospitality background as everything you could think of has been provided. There was a refreshing welcome drink waiting in the fridge. Tere books and magazines for enjoying leisure time. A yoga mat for some early morning sun salutations. Marshmallow sticks for after dinner treats around the braai. Muffin trays for if you felt like cooking up a storm. Tiny bottles of booze in the fridge in case you forgot to bring your own. And the list goes on.
3. The tasty treats
Amongst the special touches in our room, we were delighted to discover a jar of marshmellows and crackers for making smoores, and some hot chocolate to wash them down. The most delicious home-baked rusks proved the perfect thing to dip in our morning coffee and we even had the option of buying some to take home if we wanted to, alongside farm fresh olives, honey and more. Beyond that, there was also the possibility of pre-ordering a two or three course meat-free home cooked meal or indulging in a sundowner platter of delicious cheeses and nuts from the area.
4. The garden delights
These delicious morsels extended beyond our room to the farm’s very own veggie garden which guests are welcome to explore. Here we discovered lettuce, spinach and snap peas all waiting to be picked to enjoy in our evening salad. Our daughter loved running up and down the lanes of the garden, looking at the cute statues, chasing frogs, and picking all manner of fresh veggies to enjoy. Any natural goods left over can also be fed to the nearby chickens – in fact there’s even a chicken feeding bin in your room for any scraps.
5. The hot tub with a view
However, the best place to enjoy our sundowner platter and homemade rooibos iced tea happened to be at the hot tub. Perched alongside a boma and cold reservoir-style pool, the hot tub can be exclusively booked by guests for a nominal fee. We chose to enjoy it on our arrival night and as rain clouds danced on the horizon it was exquisite to be toasty warm in the water, overlooking the mountains and valleys which seemed to stretch on forever without another sole in sight. Absolute bliss!
6. The secret pools and waterfalls
But the hot tub is not the only place where you’re unlikely to encounter anyone else. Embark on one of the property’s three hiking trails and you’ll venture through the mountains and stunning fynbos on paths where few get to wonder. The prize along the way being mind-blowingly beautiful rock pools and waterfalls that you can enjoy all to yourself. Be sure to pack your swimming costume and a picnic for an afternoon alongside the river at these heavenly locations.
7. The location
The location in the mountains truly is enviable with magnificent views and a vast natural playground right on your doorstep. It may be a bit of a drive to get to, but its totally worth it and when you get here the truth is you’re unlikely to want to leave. But should you wish to explore the surrounding wine farms, mountain biking, hiking trails or attractions of Barrydale, Montagu and Bonnievale on a day trip, it’s relatively easy to do so.
8. The ethos
Besides all of the above, one of the main reasons that we loved Starry Starry Night was the ethos of the place. Here its all about slowing down, reconnecting with nature and each other, and putting back more than we take out. The property is completely off-grid, powered through green energy with a philosophy to conserve, protect and grow. There is a clear environmental focus throughout from the compost bins to the water conservation efforts, eco-friendly soaps and more. It’s a place that will change your outlook on life and the way you travel, for the better.